Music Interview: Daniel Heff’s aural feast

By Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Some people stay trapped in their homes for a helping of Kraft Dinner music served up by soup Nazi radio DJs to scratch their eardrums, while others blow out their ears with heavy metal binges. But there are those who aurally feast on the generous smorgasbord of styles served up by the likes of Daniel Heffner, otherwise known as the amazing maestro Heff. Dishes crafted with a mixture of Klezmer and Latin jazz are served piping hot with a generous side serving of classical.

“I’m all over [with] some instrumental stuff that’s more Latin jazz to some other songs which are more klezmer,” admits the University of Calgary student and local music wunderkind. “When I play the guitar, it’s more Flamenco and when I sing it’s a little pop.”

Strapped with a guitar, he fills the airwaves with a unique and powerful sound rare in today’s manufactured music world, Heff’s music bubbles over with a real passion and energy. He’s a man who has invested time into developing his sound and its apparent once he starts strumming his instrument of choice, the guitar.

His music career started eleven years ago when he made an important discovery. “I found mom’s guitar in the basement, it had three strings on it,” reminisces Heff. “So I started fooling around with it, playing by ear until eventually mom got the other three strings.”

Since then, his sound has developed into the delicacy it is now, most recently fallen under the influence of classical music thanks in part to the tutelage of a friend. Heff’s musical talents don’t end with self learning the steel string and classical guitar. He also experiments with the piano and is well versed in the bongos and the tarbouka, an Arabic drum.

Even while studying in the Kinesiology Department, music remains the guiding force in Heff’s life and he plans for a future flexible enough for the demands of his music. With his degree, he hopes to become a pharmacist. “It’s perfect job for music,” he confides.

By day he’ll whip up a cure to rid the world of the ills defiling man, popping that annoying purple boil just below the chin called mediocrity. By night, he transforms into a super red hot ball of entertainment, performing live whenever and wherever possible.

“Nothing at all compares to live performance,” claims the musician. “It’s better then school, it’s better then every thing else. That’s why I try to do as much [of it] as I can, because it’s like therapy for the soul. I want to play in folkfests across this great nations and to play as much as I can.”

This attitude and skilled musicianship endears him to fans. When he enters the rooms they become electrified by his energy. Paired with his brand of music, it’s an energy that captivates. It’s an energy pulsating through all his musical recipes.

Daniel Heffner has got a lot in his mixing bowl, but he continues to churn out amazing creations and improving on the old. This young artist has some secret things going on in his musical concoctions, secrets he’s more then willing to share with those who will listen. And listen they will, ears drawn to gorge upon the unique sound. Add two scoops of amazing guitar, and let it sizzle on pure radiant energy, a dash of bongo, and maybe some exotic tarbouka, and voila! Heff.


Leave a comment